Player Profile: Nina Mandracchia
March 14, 2014 • 731 views
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Four-year varsity softball catcher Nina Mandracchia has entered her final season at Presentation, but it won’t be the last time she takes the field. In November, Mandracchia signed to play the collegiate level next year for Columbia University. As a senior about to cross the finish line, or more accurately home plate, Mandracchia took some time to talk to the Voice via an email interview about her experience as a softball player.
The Voice: How long have you been playing softball and when did you first become interested in the sport?
NM: I’ve been playing softball since I was six and tee ball before that so about twelve years. I became really interested in it when I was 10 and made my first all-star team. I got to travel to fun places like Tahoe and Vegas and learn more about the game.
The Voice: Do you have a favorite softball player that you look up to or admire?
NM: I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite. I like watching college games whenever I can. The Ricketts sisters were always fun to watch because they were from San Jose and they dominated in the circle.
The Voice: What is your favorite part of playing softball?
NM: My favorite part of playing softball is the people you meet. I have met some of my best friends through softball and I probably never would have met them if I didn’t play. Playing with or even against your friends is always fun.
The Voice: What do you do to improve your game during the offseason?
NM: During this last fall offseason I went to Crossfit a lot (thanks, Shaun!). But during the summer I play with my travel ball team and take catching and hitting lessons.
The Voice: What are your hopes for this season?
NM: Of course I want to win CCS! But really my main goal is to get everyone playing as a team so that we can play to our full potential and make our Seniors’ last season a fun one. (Beating Mitty wouldn’t hurt either).
The Voice: Who have you found to be especially supportive throughout your softball career?
NM: My dad has always been my number one support system. He knows everything there is to know about the game. I know I can always ask him about what pitch I should call in this situation or what can I do to improve my throws or things like that. My hitting Coach, Bob Perales, has supported me as well. He helped me learn how to be a smart hitter, not just a power hitter. I’m really lucky to have a coach like him because he shows me how to make the game fun but take it seriously at the same time.
The Voice: Who do you attribute your success as a softball player to?
NM: Easy question, hard work. I try to be the first one there and the last one to leave whenever I can. I run from one practice to the next trying to absorb as much information as I can and getting in reps. I’ve learned to manage my priorities, I could go to the movies with my friends or I could get a few more reps in. I think I’ve really become successful because I always put school first, then softball, then everything else.
The Voice: What are your opinions on being a student-athlete in college?
NM: I can’t wait to be a student-athlete! I automatically have friends through my teammates which is nice being as New York is literally on the other side of the country. I’m going to have to manage my time, but I’ve gotten good at that after being at Pres for four years. Honestly I am so excited, I know that this is an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to make the most out of it!